Protection of kauri in Eave’s Bush has a price tag of almost $400,000.
The bush reserve, in Orewa, contains around 1000 kauri, including more than 400 within 10m of the track network and so far the trees are free of kauri dieback disease. In June, the reserve was closed while Auckland Council puts measures in place to prevent the spread of dieback and protect the kauri.
Hibiscus & Bays Local Board members were told at a meeting last month that upgrading around 1.6km of track to kauri safe standard, which includes the provision of boardwalks and formation of dry track surfacing, will cost $391,205.
The money comes from the Natural Environment targeted rate that all Aucklanders are paying.
Council’s principal sports parks advisor, Grant Jennings, says detailed design work is now underway.
“It is planned that upgrades will be carried out in stages to allow sections of the track to be re-opened ahead of others,” he says. “The first stage involving the track alongside the stream is planned to commence in late 2019.”
He says as Eave’s Bush is a high value kauri area with healthy kauri it is important that works are not rushed and that they are carried out in a considered manner for the protection of kauri.
Timelines are subject to consent approvals, contractor availability and weather conditions.
In addition to the track upgrades, one track is to be closed indefinitely. This portion of the track leads west from the Kensington Park bridge, alongside the stream. It provides a connection to a privately owned property and is used for recreational activities such as mountain biking.
Mr Jennings says closure of this portion of track has been recommended as Council is not able to direct the public to use private property.
“The property is also a greenbelt and has multiple kauri that we don’t want to put at risk,” he says. “It is important that mountain bikes are kept out of kauri forest areas such as Alice Eaves because bikes are a risk for the spread of kauri dieback.”
All the other remaining tracks will be available for use once works are complete.
A volunteer group that weeds and maintains the bush reserve, the Eave’s Bush Appreciation Group, is pleased at the investment being made in the protection of the trees. Its spokesperson, Laurie Rands, points out that track building in the past has been completed by volunteers.
“I was blown away at how much it’s costing,” she says. “It’s taken dieback to get Council to put this sort of money into it,” she says.
Mrs Rands says in the meantime 10 volunteers have been trained and are allowed into the bush, under stringent conditions, to look after pest control.